The Witch of Endor Lane

Created by John Rees, The Pitch 2020

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Magic has been outlawed around the world! Social club psychics, children's party magicians, carnival fortune-tellers; all rounded up by a crack police squad. Endora, an elderly witch living in an English country cottage, has managed to escape the cull by going undercover; still helping those in need by giving spiritual advice in online chatrooms. It's by these means she meets Mr. Potus, who claims to be in a life or death situation and persuades Endora to meet in person. When government agents arrive at Endora's, she fears she's been discovered, but she's actually being visited by - the President of the United States of America! The distressed President is on the verge of a great conflict and wants to contact his late Great-Granddaddy for advice. Endora summons Great-Granddaddy, an ex-army general, who chastises the President for his selfish/lying ways and tells him he's doomed to lose his battle, leaving him inconsolable. It’s revealed, the President's battle is just a bowling game and getting a gutterball on his first shot, he’s overcome with stress and falls down dead of a heart attack, framed against a wall of flashing cameras. The action then briefly returns to Endora, watching events unfold on TV.

Biblical Connection

The Biblical source I’m using is the story of King Saul and the Witch of Endor, which I’ve brought into the modern-day and turned into a comedy. I love the idea of magic being banned and think it will produce great comedy in a modern setting; seeing police round up psychics, fortune-tellers, children’s party magicians, etc. I’ve developed the Witch, naming her Endora and making her more lovable and eccentric, in a traditionally British mould. The need for a 21st-century dignitary turns Saul into the American President, who doesn’t visit Endora in disguise but uses more modern means of subterfuge: an alias on an Internet chatroom. The spirit of Samuel is replaced with Great-Granddaddy, a comically stereotypical American army general, and the climax no longer takes place on the battlefield but in a more American setting: a ten-pin bowling alley. The contrasting of very American elements with traditionally British ones is one of the more original aspects of my adaptation as well as a significant source of comedy. However, although I’ve turned the story into a comedy, I’m still respectful and stay true to its message, with the President being punished for the same reasons as Saul.